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Kim holds off Feng in playoff for Lorena Ochoa title
November 16, 2014

Interviews:
Rolex Rankings No. 76 Christina Kim (-15)
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Shanshan Feng (-15)

A tournament champion was crowned today via a playoff for the seventh time on the LPGA Tour this season. After two playoff holes, Christina Kim sank her putt for par and became the seventh different player to hold the trophy at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational after beating Shanshan Feng. This is Kim’s first win since The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions, 9 years and 3 days between wins.

“I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now. Kim said. “I’m still riding so many emotions. It feels surreal. I can’t explain. I’m so overwhelmed right now. I’m so proud and honored to be a champion for such an incredible tournament.”

Christina Kim entered the final round with a 5-stroke lead over Shanshan Feng but after a birdie chip in on 15, Feng finally caught Kim. With a bogey on the second playoff hole, Feng fell just short and missed an opportunity to tie Karrie Webb for the second largest come-from-behind victory of the season.

“I thought other than Christina, the rest of us were competing for second place because I never thought I could catch up.” Feng said. “So I said that my goal was that I want to get to 15 under. It doesn’t matter if I win or not if I get to 15 under, I’d be really happy, which I did. So I had a really solid run.”

After her win, Kim jumped for joy and let loose emotions that have built up for 9 frustrating years between tournaments. An emotional Kim was overjoyed after the win and so thankful for the players who were there to congratulate her, especially Shanshan.

“I can’t speak on behalf of other players, but I just know how much I love this tour and how much this game means to me. And how I’d love to leave it a better place than I found it. But Shanshan, she’s an amazing young woman. She was the first major winner from mainland China, and she has very much like Lorena did when she was on the LPGA tour, an entire country riding on her shoulders. To hear the wonderful things that were said - it fills my heart with joy.”

Gracious in defeat: Shanshan Feng’s goal this season was to win three tournaments. She came up just short on her second win, falling on the second playoff hole to Christina Kim in the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Despite losing this week, she was just happy for Kim, who hadn’t won since 2005.

“I kind of felt a little upset for her because she hasn’t won for so long. After she made the par putt in the playoff, I lost and she won, and I saw her, you know, she jumped up and she was really happy.” Feng said shortly after the loss. “And I felt the same thing - I was really happy for her because she’s a good player, good person. So she’s supposed to play well.”

Last chance to qualify for CME: The Lorena Ochoa Invitational marked the final week for players to qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship. It also marks the final week for players to jump into the top-9 or top-3 spots in the Race to the CME Globe for a chance at $1 million. Only the top-9 players have a chance to win the $1 million prize, while the top-3 control their own destiny with a win at CME.

With her T-7 finish at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Azahara Munoz failed to move into the top-9 in the Race to the CME Globe and a chance at $1 million. Karrie Webb, who did not play this week, will remain in the 9th spot in the Race.

Stacy Lewis will go in ranked #1, Inbee Park #2 and Lydia Ko #3 and will control their own destiny at next week’s CME Group Tour Championship.

#4 - Michelle Wie
#5 - So Yeon Ryu
#6 - Shanshan Feng
#7 - Anna Nordqvist
#8 - Chella Choi
#9 - Karrie Webb

Visit www.lpga.com/race-to-cme-globe for more information, updated rankings and information on how the Race to the CME Globe works and the points breakdown.

Eagles for a cause: This weekend, eight total eagles were recorded by Gaby Lopez, Karine Icher, Suzann Pettersen, Shanshan Feng, Michelle Wie, Anna Nordqvist, Pernilla Lindberg and Caroline Masson which brings the total money raised this year to $283,000. The CME Group’s donation to the Wounded Warrior Project for weekend eagles has now reached $283,000.

Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded War­rior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

Numbers to know:
2 - Number of playoff holes played today
3 - Number of career wins for Christina Kim
9 - The number of players who have a chance at $1 million prize in the Race to the CME Globe next week
5 - Number of stoke lead Christina Kim had at the start of the day over Shanshan Feng
7 - Number of years that Lorena Ochoa has hosted the Lorena Ochoa Invitational
2005 - Year of Christina Kim’s last win on the LPGA Tour prior to today

Rolex Player of the Year update: With her third place finish in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Inbee Park collected nine points in the Race to the CME Globe. Stacy Lewis will now enter the CME Tour Championship with just a three-point lead over second place Park – 229 to 226.

It’s now just a two-player race and Inbee will need an 8th-or-better finish if Stacy doesn’t finish in the top-10 to have a shot at the award.

Vare trophy update:
Projections for the winner of the Vare Trophy, giving to the player with the lowest scoring average are as follows...
• If Stacy Lewis were to shoot 8-under 280 at CME (69.4954), Inbee Park would have to shoot 271 to beat her (69.4886).
• If Stacy Lewis were to shoot 4-under 284 at CME (69.5321), Inbee Park would have to shoot 274 to beat her (69.5227).
• If Stacy Lewis were to shoot even-par 288 at CME (69.5688), Inbee Park would have to shoot 278 to beat her (69.5681).
• If Stacy Lewis were to shoot 4-over 292 at CME (69.6055), Inbee Park would have to shoot 281 to beat her (69.6022).
• For reference, Inbee shot 277 there a year ago, and Lewis shot 278. The 2013 winner, Shanshan, shot 273.

INTERVIEWS

Rolex Rankings No. 76 Christina Kim (-15)

Q: The 2014 Lorena Ochoa champion, Christina Kim, in the interview room. Christina, how does it feel to hear those words?
CHRISTINA KIM: I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now. I'm still riding so many emotions. It feels surreal. I can't explain. I'm so overwhelmed right now. I'm so proud and honored to be a champion for such an incredible tournament. I can't, I can't, I just can't.

Q: Playoff holes - what was your thought going into the first playoff hole leading into the second?
CHRISTINA KIM: Many expletives. (laughs) I had a very short putt on the last hole of regulation to win the tournament outright. These greens here at the Golf Club de Mexico - they're so incredibly difficult, but I just had a little bit of a - my brain just didn't work right there. But it was something that I've been looking forward to for a very long time. I was just honored to be a part of playoffs. It's been a very long time coming. So I said as long as you just give yourself a chance, keep the ball in front of you, just try your hardest, and there's nothing more you can do.

Q: Shanshan gave you a run for your money there at the end, didn't she? I think it was on 15 when she chipped in for birdie. What was your thought at that moment?
CHRISTINA KIM: I knew coming into the final round that I was going to have to try an post some kind of number. This was such an incredible field full of the best in the world that I knew that in order to come out on top, I was going to have to make sure that I kept good pressure on me. I know that I had a 5 shot lead coming into today, but yet Inbee Park who was 6 shots back, Shanshan Feng who was only 5 back, and obviously, she shot 6 under today, she played lights out, it was a very easy round to watch her play. She just made it look so easy while I was bumbling around with the trees.

Q: I was going to say, afterwards, Shanshan had glowing remarks for you. She was so happy to see you win. What does it mean for all the other players out here to be so happy to see you win and have Michelle come out and hug after you sank that ball?
CHRISTINA KIM: I can't speak on behalf of other players, but I just know how much I love this tour and how much this game means to me. And how I'd love to leave it a better place than I found it. But Shanshan, she's an amazing young woman. She was the first major winner from mainland China, and she has very much like Lorena did when she was on the LPGA tour, an entire country riding on her shoulders. To hear the wonderful things that were said - it fills my heart with joy.

Q: So what are your plans for tonight to celebrate the victory?
CHRISTINA KIM: Mucha ceratuda. (laughs) No, I originally had a flight out tonight at 7:45. I'm very happy to not be making it tonight, so I am going to be celebrating with everybody here in Mexico.

Q: You had an advantage and then it got started, you took two or three minutes - how did you feel? What did you think?
CHRISTINA KIM: Lots of expletives. Again. But I was just thinking that there were still chances for me to make birdie. All the last four days I was thinking, "What would Lorena do?" She would gather herself. She would know that she has the ability to make more birdies and just play her best. And whatever happens, happens. I gave myself a couple minutes. I actually had to use the ladies' room... That's why I went back. But I just came back and said just keep going - whatever happens happens. If I'm meant to win, I'll win a fortune and that's exactly how it came out.

Q: What does it mean to you to win the tournament considering the relationship with Lorena, and what did you feel whenever Shanshan, on the first back hole, just inches from being able to win?
CHRISTINA KIM: I've been saying all week Lorena, she's (indiscernible). I've known her half of my life, and I've been very very lucky because she is one of the most incredible and inspirational people I've ever met. She's like a shooting star because her career was so quick and she made such a huge impact on the entire golf world. Obviously you can tell with the way the crowds have come out in droves this week, it just means everything to me to be able to win this week. You know she and I've been, like I've said, for half my life we've known each other. And she's been such an inspiration to me. When Shanshan, in the playoff holes, whenever she was close to winning, I wanted her to win. I want everyone to play their best. So I want to make my putt, but I want everyone else to make their putt, too. I don't like seeing someone struggle. For me, it's more than just the victory. It's about the game, and it's about furthering the game all around the world.

Q: You said all week long, you were playing every day like Sunday. Did that help with the pressure of today?
CHRISTINA KIM: It helped the first three days, but when it actually became Sunday, I don't know. I honestly didn't know how I was going to make it off the first tee. It's been a long time since I've been in this situation, the first time in my career I've led wire to wire. So I kept trying to tell myself it was Sunday, but I was like, Yea, it's Sunday - there's no more golf after today for this tournament. So (indiscernible) with a lot of pressure on me, but it honestly helped for three days, no doubt, because I played a lot of good Sundays on the previous 6 tournaments in Asia, so it was a concept my caddy, TJ Jones, had come up with. I think it's something I'm going to live with for a long long time.

Q: You played all the Asian tours, you played here, you play next week at CME. Does this win mean, no matter what, make your season extremely special?
CHRISTINA KIM: Definitely. Considering that the end of 2012, I had to go back to school, before I did anything else, one of my goals that I set off with at the beginning of this year was to get into the Lorena Ochoa invitational. It's so important to me and it's so important to all of Mexico that I knew that I had to be a part of this event. Honestly, before I won this event today, I knew that being a part of this tournament - it made my season great already. It's been where I had come from. Absolutely. This is the greatest win in my life, without a doubt, and I'm still so speechless.

Moderator: That was impressive.
CHRISTINA KIM: I'm sorry my answers were so long! (laughs)

Rolex Rankings No. 5 Shanshan Feng (-15)

MODERATOR: Here with Shanshan. Entered today with a 5 stroke deficit. Where was your mindset coming into today?
SHANSHAN FENG: I thought other than Christina, the rest of us were competing for second place because I never thought I could catch up. So I said that my goal was that I want to get to 15 under. It doesn't matter if I win or not if I get to 15 under, I'd be really happy, which I did. So I had a really solid run. And one eagle, one bogie. And then 5 birdies, I believe. So that was my low round this week. I mean, the key positions were not that easy, so I thought I did really well.

MODERATOR: Take me back to that shot on 15 when you tied it, do you remember?
SHANSHAN FENG: The forward that I chipped in? Oh... (laughs) It was funny because my ball was in the right rough, which, you know, the trees were blocking my way, so I had to start on the left. I talked to my caddy, I said, be right there to hit like a high cut or rather to actually hit it low, like under the tree. And I decided to hit the high cut, and well, it was cutting. And it landed on a good spot, but then it bounced the other way, just off the green. And that chip - I didn't think it was going in. Because it was actually a very fast, downhill, tough chip. And it was like 30 yards almost.

MODERATOR: You had a good reaction.
SHANSHAN FENG: What'd I do?

MODERATOR: You were just like stunned.
SHANSHAN FENG: (laughs) Because I chipped, it was a 52 - and once I chipped, it landed on where I wanted it to be, but it was so far away. So even though I landed on the right spot, sometimes it can be maybe far away, but then it was just going going going, and then fell in. I was like, Oh! Really.

MODERATOR: Was that the moment when you thought, hey, I have a chance here?
SHANSHAN FENG: Nope. I still didn't think until Christina missed her putt on the 18th. Because I think she made a birdie after I caught up and then she made another birdie on the par 3. She hit it 2 on, on the 17th, so I made a really good birdie there actually to stay one behind. And she hit it two shots. Well I was actually first shot in the rough on the left. She was from the fairway. So I actually thought it was done. But, you know, there was like a gap between the trees, so I was like, I have to go forward even though it's kind of like a little challenging. But I did. I didn't expect her to miss the putt. I thought, you know, that was done already. But I'm still really happy.

MODERATOR: That's good. Someone like Christina who hadn't won in so long, I know you came up just short, but is there any - do you feel happy for her in any way?
SHANSHAN FENG: I felt really happy for her because we are not really close friends, we don't really go out for dinner or others, but we've played a lot of time together, and I always think she's a really nice person. And I knew she was really good because I think my rookie year, she was still kind of up there. So I knew she was really good. I kind of felt a little upset for her because she hasn't won for so long. After she made the par putt in the playoff, I lost and she won, and I saw her, you know, she jumped up and she was really happy. And I felt the same thing - I was really happy for her because she's a good player, good person. So she's supposed to play well.

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